An integral part of owning a horse is training your horse. An untrained horse can be quite a tough pet to handle. And training horses isn’t all that difficult if you know how.
One great element in horse training is praising and rewarding. Just as with any human being, horses love being praised and treated. They’ll also learn much faster if you know how to use the treat as a lucrative incentive!
But when we consider horse treats, not anything will do. In fact, you should be cautious when picking out horse treats – not everything you’d like to use is healthy for horse digestion. For instance, these things are a total no-no – they’ll do more bad than good to your horse:
Things that you shouldn’t use as horse reward/treats
- Garden clippings
- Or even Chocolate!
You may find these are handier to get – but please, for your horse’s well-being, steer clear of these!
And now for…
The treats that you can safely give your horse during training
Ok so we did specify ‘during training’, but these treats are all pretty much healthy, and can be used as rewards at any time – not just in training:
- Sugar cubes (these are the most popular!)
- Carrot cut into pieces
- Apples, also in pieces
- Sunflower seeds – you can take the shells off, or keep them on
Now, there’s a reason for listing quite a few varied options – what your horse will consider as an actual treat will differ from horse to horse! They have a strong sense of taste, and what one horse likes another may not even touch! So you need to be patient and find the right ones through trial and error.
And now for…
A bit more information about treating horses
- You might think it convenient to carry treats in your pocket and feed often (this is usually the ‘done’ thing!) – but that’s a bad habit in the making. Your horse will learn to expect treats out of every pocket! So don’t do that.
- The ideal way to give treats is in a bucket or in his feeder – he’ll know that it is a special reward, and also learn to be patient and well-behaved!
- Choking is one thing you need to look out for. It is a hazard that is best avoided. To do that:
- Be careful when feeding over-eager greedy horses – they tend to swallow too much and then choke!
- Never feed whole apples or carrots –they increase the risk of choking.
- If you feed raisins with pits or dates; remove the pits first – a horse can choke on these as well…
- Certain horses can have specific allergies – so when choosing a treat, if it makes him act strange, consult the vet first. It may be a treat he’s allergic to, and you may need to choose another.
Training a horse can be a delightful task – especially if you are having fun and your horse is learning fast. And along with knowing how to train the horse, these quick and simple horse treats could actually make the task easier for you!